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Technology, Complacency, Innovation & Ad Targeting: Key Takeaways From Google@Manchester

Contributor Matt Clough shares inspirational and insightful details from the Google@Manchester event in the UK this week.

The post Technology, Complacency, Innovation & Ad Targeting: Key Takeaways From Google@Manchester appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Pinterest SEO: 7 Tips From A Pinterest Engineer [#SMX]

It’s not hard to make the case that Pinterest is a perfect social network for marketers, and Tailwind CEO Daniel Maloney hit upon the crux of the matter during a session this week at SMX East in New York. Twitter, he said, is mostly about what I’m doing; Facebook is about who I am; Pinterest…

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Pinterest SEO: 7 Tips From A Pinterest Engineer [#SMX] – Search Engine Land

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Pinterest SEO: 7 Tips From A Pinterest Engineer [#SMX]
Search Engine Land
Focus on writing keyword rich descriptions, building authority by increasing followers and finding less served niches to maximize your content's ranking on the popular social network. Martin Beck on October 3, 2014 at 9:05 am. More. pinterest-logo

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Lessons From Google@Manchester: You Don’t Need To Be Big To Be Best

Two talks at the annual Google@Manchester conference in the UK this week revealed the light at the end of the tunnel for SMEs everywhere.

The post Lessons From Google@Manchester: You Don’t Need To Be Big To Be Best appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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What Oracle Could Learn From Microsoft About The Cloud

Has this man seen the cloud?

Oracle still doesn’t get cloud computing. At Oracle OpenWorld this week, there were signs that Oracle was making serious changes to its business model, embracing cloud computing in a way that it hitherto hasn’t. Unfortunately, a review of what Oracle announced suggests that it has a long way to go before Oracle’s cloud becomes anything more than Larry Ellison’s derisive “water vapor.”  

Of course, Oracle was never going to be able to compete with Amazon in the cloud. That’s a bridge too far for a company that has spent decades licensing software. Lots of it.

Even so, if Oracle truly wants to better understand how to turn a massive, legacy data center business and orient it to the cloud, it need look no further than Microsoft. 

Oracle’s “Inconceivable” Cloud

Give points to Oracle chairman Larry Ellison: he knows how to put on a good show. Accuracy, however, isn’t always his strength. 

In the midst of his keynote, he slagged SAP for not powering any clouds but then went a bit too far, as CSC’s Simon Wardley points out:

Ellison, of course, referred to a few software-as-a-service applications. But when most people think of “cloud,” many (most?) think of the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or platform-as-a-service offerings that applications run on. Those overwhelmingly do not run on Oracle. 

But that’s semantics. The real problem with Oracle’s cloud announcements wasn’t the smearing of competitors or the grandiose boasts. It was the cloud, or lack thereof. 

For example, what Oracle calls a database-as-a-service (DBaaS) really … isn’t. It’s actually a hosted compute environment with software and support rented by the month. It’s also not fully managed, though Oracle suggests this will change in the future. 

Most bizarrely, one of the cardinal advantages of true cloud computing is the way it lets developers set up virtual servers themselves. Perhaps more than any other feature, such convenience has driven the adoption of AWS and other cloud services. Developers don’t want to have to talk to a salesperson in order to get stuff done. Yet clicking on Oracle’s “buy now” button on the DBaaS page reveals this “feature”:

All of which leads developer Jeff Waugh to channel The Princess Bride

It doesn’t have to be this way. Just ask Microsoft.

Microsoft’s Cloud Moment

Microsoft is very similar to Oracle in many ways. It, too, has a large software business that it wants to protect, even as it searches for ways to be relevant for an increasingly cloud-centric world. 

But Microsoft’s approach has been very different from Oracle’s. Unlike Oracle, Microsoft has actually delivered a host of software services that aren’t simply its old licensed software business dressed up in cloudy clothes. One area that is particularly impressive is Microsoft’s different databases it runs as services, including SQL Server and a new DocumentDB.

Of the latter, which has the potential to eat into Microsoft’s legacy database business, DataStax and Windows Azure MVP Kelly Sommers indicates that Microsoft built it right:

In a series of other tweets, she goes on to confirm that “The Microsoft Azure DocumentDB folks really know what they’re doing. Some really great database and distributed systems engineering in there.” 

But more than the engineering, Microsoft got the business model right. Microsoft’s cloud services, including its database services, are just that: services. Users self-provision. The databases are fully managed. 

And unlike Oracle, Microsoft has made open source a first-class citizen on its Azure cloud (the list of open-source software on Azure is impressive).

Competing In The Cloud

All of which is why I continue to believe Microsoft has a real chance to compete effectively in the cloud. Despite its legacy, Microsoft has demonstrated the ability to transform itself. Oracle, at least on the basis of its recent cloud announcements, has not.

Just as important, however, is Microsoft’s commitment to lowering the bar to computing. Just as Steven Pinker says of bad writing—”The curse of knowledge is the single best explanation of why good people write bad prose. It simply doesn’t occur to the writer that her readers don’t know what she knows”—so, too, is it with software. 

Too many software infrastructure developers assume too great a familiarity with the underlying code. Not so Microsoft, as Bill Bennett highlights: “Microsoft has created a cloud computing service that makes creating a server as simple as setting up a Word document.” 

Not everyone will want this, of course. But Microsoft keeps demonstrating that it understands the cloud and its developer audience very, very well. Oracle could learn a thing or 20 from Microsoft.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Triple Threat Optimization Techniques From Four Pros by @ChandalN

Search engine marketers won’t survive as one-trick ponies amongst fluctuating search algorithms mapping an ever-changing digital marketing landscape. The ongoing pressure to account for conversions weighted against the oncoming era of consumer-driven, usability-level personalization is immense. Digital marketers now have to account for more channels than ever before. Consider that new and existing forms of social media, mobile platforms, user privacy and security, video content, and native advertisements are just the tip of the digital marketer’s iceberg. Today, we have to be able to optimize for more than just the Google index. E-commerce websites have their own unique considerations when it […]

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13 Secrets Stephen Colbert Extracted From Google’s Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg

Editor’s note: This post was originally published by our partners at Biography.

Stephen Colbert, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Eric Schmidt at 92Y. (Photo: Joyce Culver)

On Tuesday night, The Colbert Report host moderated a panel with Google Executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, Google’s Senior VP of Product Management at New York City’s 92Y. The topic: Schmidt and Rosenberg’s new book, How Google Works, an inside look into the technology corporation’s nurturing history and culture.

Like an hour-long Colbert Report interview, the talk was a rapid-fire smorgasbord of wisecracks and Google trivia, Schmidt and Rosenberg painting their picture of a fully connected, Google-driven world. The evening was a futurist’s dream and a technophobe’s nightmare.

As Colbert jumped from point to point, here are a few of the insights we picked up at the panel:

Google Glass: Still a Thing?

To kick things off, Colbert went straight for a topic that would earn him a laugh and a compelling response: Glass. The world lost its minds when Google’s Android phone-like eyewear premiered—was this the next great technological achievement?

The fervor has died down, but Schmidt stresses that Glass is slowly becoming an essential accessory in a number of fields, citing surgeons who need their hands to operate but want to document or stream their work via Glass’ on-board camera.

It Takes Five Interviews to Land a Job at Google

“No more, no less,” Schmidt said. There wasn’t always a set number of hoops to jump through. According to the former CEO, one prospective employee went through 18 interviews, only to be rejected at the end. Schmidt had his own trial to endure when he applied for the CEO gig in 2001. Key Google staff insist on testing potential major hires by dragging them to an “extreme” outing, like surfing or skiing. Schmidt went to Burning Man. He appreciated the outdoor festival’s “no pictures” policy. “Tell that to Google Image,” Colbert remarked.

Google Employs “Smart Creatives”

What makes a great Google employee? Someone analytical, personable, and individual—the company’s definition of a “smart creative.” They’re not looking for geniuses, but people who can function within the company.

Schmidt said when he arrived at Google, it had 150 employees. Today the innovative enterprise has 50,000 people on board. Colbert asked the natural question of Schmidt and Rosenberg: “Are you like Kirk and Spock?”

“Exile knaves, but fight for divas” – Jonathan Rosenberg on Google’s mantra for team-building

“Consensus Requires Dissension” and Consensus Requires Women

Google is all about the quotable mantras. Rosenberg offers “exile knaves, but fight for divas,” which speaks to its team-building efforts. “Fake 10 tons not 10 percent” is all about work ethic and why failure is acceptable within Google’s development timelines.

Schmidt’s biggie is “consensus requires dissension,” which helps Google avoid the “Bobblehead yes” where everyone just agrees with a lackluster idea so they can move on with a meeting. Schmidt demands debate and argument so his team can achieve true consensus.

He also stressed the importance of female voices. While the men of Google will often be louder, quicker, and blunter with their responses, Schmidt says he always clears the air for a women’s opinion, scientifically proven to be more thoughtful.

Google Will Release a Smart Contact Lens for Diabetics

On top of the more obvious work—Chrome, Gmail, and Internet-centric developments—there’s Google X, the home of research and development that turns science fiction into science fact. The division’s latest development? A contact lens equipped with a microchip that can read insulin levels in diabetics. When blood sugar levels are low, the lens changes colors to prompt action. 

“How do you charge it?” Colbert asked, speaking for the entire audience with mouth agape. “Bioelectricity in eye fluid,” replied Schmidt. Collective gasp.

Where Are the Self-Driving Cars? Blame Traffic Regulators

Wondering where Google’s much buzzed about self-driving cars were, Schmidt assured Colbert that they were still in active development, with one major problem to overcome. The cars stop faster than any human could at a red light or crash scenario. Rosenberg says Google cars have an accident-free test history (and they’ve driven on highways).

While the government traffic enforcement continues to debate whether Google cars should be able to drive on the open road, the major internal problem is police. The cars won’t stop just because a cop tells it to. Colbert thinks they should keep the flaw built in because he already has the perfect line: “I’m sorry, officer, my car was drunk.”

Optimistically, Schmidt believes aspects of the car technology could be integrated into existing models. Imagine a student driver who could avoid all accidents with an intelligent car.

Google Is All About Putting Superfast Internet In Every Home

Right now, Google’s main goal is to put hyper-speed Internet in every home. According to Schmidt, the Google Fiber program is 100 times faster than your typical internet connection, running upwards of 1,000 Mbps. “A gigabit is like taking drugs,” he says.

The all-Google lifestyle doesn’t stop there. Schmidt told Colbert that the next practical innovation would be virtual reality, “images that envelop you.” Instead of watching The Colbert Report through a screen, Colbert could be projected from a tube into homes. Schmidt held specifics close to the chest, but with the advent of Oculus Rift and parallel competitors, we know Google will be all over VR when it’s time (which sounds like the next few years).

Colbert’s Viacom-vs-YouTube Deposition Confused Lawyers

The night was all about Schimdt and Rosenberg, but Colbert had Google stories to share, too: Apparently, when he was deposed in Viacom’s $1 billion copyright lawsuit against Google and YouTube, lawyers had problems differentiating between statements made by the actual Colbert and his fictional character “Stephen Colbert.”

To shift personas, Colbert would change the position of his coffee cup on a table depending on which version of himself he was referring to.

Google Isn’t Always on the Right Path

Google always has a five-year plan in place. According to Rosenberg, they’re occasionally ahead of themselves. A few years back, the economic advisor would have told you that the future was all about one device that could do it all. He was wrong.

“Convergence is not on a device, but in the cloud,” Rosenberg said. Schmidt consoled his comrade, adding that, while we still use multiple devices, the mobile device is still the key. He made a pointed claim: “97% of people sleep next to their phones.”

Porn Provoked One of Google’s Biggest Features

Google used to have an unofficial program called “Cookies for Porn.” Google Image’s “SafeSearch” was designed to detect the naked human body and remove it from typical search results. If a developer spotted porn undetected by the algorithm, they got a cookie—and the algorithm was reworked to be more efficient.

The responsive evolution of the algorithm opened the door for one of Google Image’s coolest features, “More Like This” (or “Search By Image”), a feature that’s all about precision.

Don’t Ask Them About Advertising

Google has another corporate mantra: “Don’t Be Evil.” For all the comedy Colbert dished over the course of the night, he earned major credit for asking a provocative question: What’s Google’s definition of “evil” and has anyone ever come close?

Schmidt admitted that during one conversation about using search knowledge to target ads at users, an employee screamed “being evil!” The idea was instantly killed (though a variant of the practice certainly remains in place). Colbert had a difficult time penetrating the advertising side of Google—for all their world-changing inventions, the company is still driven by ads and selling information. It’s a shady subject. Schmidt was tight-lipped.

Big Data Collection Will (Should?) Improve A.I.

While Schmidt tore the NSA a new one when snooping came up, Google’s positive spin on “Big Data” gathering is all about making the search engine that started it all smarter. By mining our every move, Schmidt believes that Google Search will be able to interact with a user via voice recognition and, not only dig up whatever a person is looking for, but predict what he or she will want to search for and when and where they’ll want to search for it.

Schmidt wants Search to answer “judgment questions”: Should I go to Paris or Hawaii on vacation? Should I go out for Mexican next Tuesday? Should I see Beyonce in concert? Google’s A.I. will tell you. Schmidt predicted the technology would be upon us in five years (and, after prodding from Colbert, says it’ll be hard to fall in love with it like in the movie Her).

Colbert Only Has 42 Shows Left

An off-hand quip unearthed a stark revelation: There are only 42 more episodes of The Colbert Report left! It was announced earlier this year that Colbert would leave his Emmy and Peabody Award-winning show to take over David Letterman’s Late Show sometime in 2015. With The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore set to premiere in January, it was obvious Colbert’s show would have to end sometime before the year’s end. It just didn’t hit us until now.

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Travel Perks In A Flash From Marriott

This post is sponsored by Marriott Rewards FlashPerks. As a promotional post, it reflects the views of the sponsor, not ReadWrite’s editors.

The problem with instant gratification is that it takes too long. There’s no need to wait with Marriott Rewards FlashPerks, a just-in-time offer from Marriott International’s loyalty program.

Every week, FlashPerks adds 10 to 15 offers on discounted hotel stays, luxury car rentals, or travel gadgets. Some let you stretch your Marriott Rewards points while others give you discounts. But they all run out quickly.

If you’re not a Marriott Rewards member, get ready for FlashPerks by signing up for the program now.

Upcoming deals include:

Remember, these special offers will only be live for 24 hours, or until the inventory is depleted, and only available on the FlashPerks website. Quantities and stay dates are limited, and all of the terms and conditions for each offer can be found on the individual offer pages when they go live each Thursday.

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Kings of Content: 9 Lessons from Brands Who Are Doing it Right by @DholakiyaPratik

Before content marketing became the thing to do for marketers of all shapes and sizes, brands already had blogs with established readerships, businesses created how-to guides and manuals to help users, and email marketing has been around for nearly two decades now. What has changed is all the various activities brands did other than advertising to promote their products and services, got clubbed under the umbrella term “content marketing”. Brands slowly began their shift from push based marketing strategies (as embodied by traditional advertising) and moved towards more pull based strategies – the foundation of content marketing. Today the smallest of businesses […]

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Recover From Panda? Follow These 5 Steps to Avoid Future Panda Hits

After recovering from Panda, it’s easy to quickly celebrate and move on. But instead of dancing in the streets, you should perform a post-recovery analysis to keep Panda at bay. This post provides five tips for performing a post-recovery analysis.

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